Georgia to play Nebraska again, this time in Gator Bowl

 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Georgia’s bowl game will have a familiar feel to it.

The Bulldogs will play Nebraska in the postseason for the second consecutive year, this time in the Jan. 1 Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla.

That’s the same locale as the Bulldogs’ annual SEC tilt with rival Florida.

The Bulldogs beat the Cornhuskers 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl to end last season and the two teams meeting again 12 months later figures to be a particular challenge in moving tickets. Reaction on Twitter was heavily negative and not just with the fans.

“Nebraska again? You kidding me,” junior wide receiver Michael Bennett tweeted.

They will meet again after a wild Sunday of bowl speculation below the BCS selections as the conferences and bowls settled on matchups.

The Big Ten bowl selections after Michigan State to the Rose and Ohio State to the Orange were Wisconsin to the Capital One, Iowa to the Outback and Michigan to the Buffalo Wild Wings, according to reports.

Then the Gator Bowl tabbed Nebraska, setting up a matchup of 8-4 teams. Gator Bowl president and CEO Rick Catlett told the Banner-Herald a week ago that he preferred not to match the teams again, but Minnesota’s poor record of traveling to bowl games factored against it, according to the Times-Union.

Kickoff at EverBank Field is at noon on Jan. 1 on ESPN2.

Georgia hasn’t played in the Gator Bowl since Jan. 1, 1989 in Vince Dooley’s final game as Bulldogs coach. Georgia is 2-0-1 all-time in the game.

A rematch in a bowl game isn’t unprecedented for an SEC team. South Carolina beat Ohio State in back-to-back Outback Bowls to end the 2000 and 2001 seasons.

The Bulldogs have won three straight in Jacksonville against Florida where the SEC East rivals play annually in the same stadium where the bowl is played.

The suspense on Georgia’s bowl selection began with whether the Bulldogs would get selected by the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta before the Gator picked and that remained up in the air until early evening.

That hinged on which way the Outback Bowl went with its selection. When the Outback tabbed LSU, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate, the Chick-fil-A scooped up Texas A&M and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel to play Duke, according to the Durham (N.C.) Herald Sun.

“If you look at CBS’ broadcast, you find Alabama is probably the No. 1 draw and Texas A&M No. 2 with respect to TV viewership, primarily because of Johnny Manziel and being a Heisman Trophy winner and the way he plays the game,” Chick-fil-a Bowl president and CEO Gary Stokan told the Banner-Herald this past week.

If LSU and Georgia were available, the Bulldogs probably would have gone to Atlanta because the Tigers were in the game last year.

“We would very much like to have Georgia,” the Gator Bowl’s Catlett said a week ago.

The title sponsor of the Gator Bowl is TaxSlayer.com, which is based near Augusta.

More

Sun, 12/04/2016 - 19:55

Gamecocks win with leader out